Dover (Photo:GlennV/Shutterstock)
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Dover

Located 76 miles (122 kilometers) to the east of London, Dover is a major passenger cruise port (as much for cruise ferries as it is for conventional ships) that's considered England's gateway to Europe.

About Dover


Pro

Famed for its white cliffs and medieval castle, which are well worth a visit if you're game for a coastal walk

Con

There's little to do in the immediate port area other than take a seafront stroll

Bottom Line

Perfect for a low-key port call and tucking into authentic British fish and chips


Find a Cruise to Dover



Dover is best known for its stunning white cliffs (remember the World War II song "White Cliffs of Dover"?) that perch over the English Channel. It's also got a quite-spectacular castle. Once, in the mid-19th century, it was a popular seaside resort, though it was repeatedly bombed during World War II. Dover's city center hasn't yet fully regained its footing.

Dover is most commonly a port of embarkation and/or debarkation (itineraries can vary, from those that head to the Baltics and Northern Europe to those cruising south, to the Mediterranean), and most cruise passengers who want extra time in England will use London as their base instead. London is about a 1 1/2-hour train ride or two-hour drive away. Dover's proximity to some major southeast England towns and villages means there are alternatives to big city touring as well: Rye, a 1 1/4-hour drive south, is a charming medieval village and the city of Canterbury is noted for its awesome cathedral, among other sites. For day trips, Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West's famous gardens, are near enough to tuck into an "on the way to the port" sightseeing jaunt, as is Leeds Castle.

Where You're Docked

The Port of Dover is a one-mile/20-minute walk (or quick cab ride) to the town center, Priory Station and Pencester Road. A shuttle bus is available to/from the town center. The Tourist Information Centre is on Old Town Gaol Street and is open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. In July and August, it's open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The national currency is the sterling pound (quid in slang). Currency exchange can be made in most banks, post offices and train stations (for current currency exchange, go to www.oanda.com). Traveler's checks should be exchanged at banks or exchange offices since very few businesses will accept them (ATMs and credit cards make them nearly obsolete). For the best exchange rate, use ATMs found almost everywhere.

If you are visiting from outside the European Union, you can get back some of the 17.5 percent VAT (Value Added Tax) you pay on certain goods. Not all shops participate, and stores that do, set a minimum purchase level. You will need to carry your passport with you and fill in a form at the time of purchase. Present the forms to Customs at the final departure from the European Union, but keep in mind the agents most likely will ask to see the goods

Note: Some ATMs in England require a PIN to be only four digits long, so plan ahead. Also, many display only numerals on the keypad. For pin codes that include letters, commit them to memory or jot down the translation to numbers.

Language

English is understood and spoken everywhere.

Shopping

Anything from the outlet shops at Dover's De Bradelei Wharf 'cause it sells discounted merchandise -- you may get deals like 70 percent off everything from lingerie to glassware from England.